It is of course likely only coincidence that my life appears to sustain a number of curious ironies. My surname, Laliberte, was likely adopted by early 19th century French-Canadian settlers who had a quasi-patriotic appreciation for the French Revolution, which as we all know spawned the political sentiment of reaction. I have also attended to a study of romantic relationships and written a number of times, explicitly and implicitly, on the phenomena of heartbreak; naturally, it follows that I was born with the condition of aortic stenosis, i.e. I have a broken heart. Later this morning I shall be having an MRI in order to better ascertain the health of my heart and should have a medical plan of action recommended to me within the week. Allow me to put to rest any fears that I am suffering from a major condition; thankfully (at least in my individual case, I am reluctant to suggest it is necessarily a benefit to society overall) medicine has advanced to the point that any surgery required would be non-invasive and recovery would be swift. If you are so inclined, prayers are appreciated.
This has brought to mind a number of thoughts about my mortality. What words are significant enough to encompass that great, final definition of life, the termination of Dasein? Though I may be blase here and on Twitter about living and dying, the population cycle, Malthusian pressure, the great evolutionary game of life, frankly I am afraid. I am not ready to meet God; could I, were it at all possible, I would hide from His sight, from His judgment. There is nothing I can give to God which can ever recompense my sins, my insults against the Holiness of Christ; I have not turned my back on Christ, I have spit on Him and gleefully driven the nails in with my own hands. All I have is my brokenness to offer and the delusional hope that His mercy may extend to this lowliest of sinners. I am afraid to even try to be humble, as though it should be a greater hypocrisy than a sheer indifference.
I never cease to find the words of Msgr. Charles Pope in this excerpt from a funeral sermon stirring:
“You are going to die. I am going to die. You are going to die. What are you and I doing to get ready to meet God?”
What is faith in God? In the modern age, we have turned the issue of religion into a consumption good, a philosophical dispute in which we might pretend our intellectual dominance. I do not have faith that God exists; for that, I have belief on the basis of an understanding constructed through the integral attempt to know myself, to know what I am, to know what I should do. My faith is that God shall save me, for my salvation is the most certainly unknowable thing in the universe. But I am afraid to have faith, for there is nothing about me which can give confidence in my salvation. I am mortally afraid. I would sooner delete, burn, and forget everything I have written than have to face God’s judgment. Yet that judgment shall come. And what am I doing to be ready? I know it is not enough; I mean this not only in the sense that nothing would be enough, but even what crumbs of piety a Catholic may partake of.
I shall pass away from this world, and no matter even if I am remembered as an Aristotle of my day, I shall be forgotten, save by God. The day shall come when the life I have lived, every thought I have jotted here and elsewhere, shall cease to have meaning to any living being. My significance and being is only for the present, and the present is fleeting, falling through my hands as grains of sand. I was born to die, yet I indulge in the idolatrous cult of youth, the Augustinian whisper of a prayer that I might be chaste, just not yet, ever on my lips. I’ve taken the devil’s wager, that I might enjoy the pleasures of sin with the presumption that I will repent later.
Why am I being so personal? After all, I have a strong distaste for gaining any sort of validation through my work. This blog is intended to be a purely intellectual work. But I wonder to what degree such a compartmentalization is valid. I promise this post shall be the extremely rare exception, I only feel a compulsion to voice aloud my wonder at the state of my soul. To what degree is my degeneracy a product of my age? To what degree am I only giving in and excusing myself through the evil of others? I know I shall never be perfect, and I will never be thought a saint. But I can do better. The trappings of Catholicism and a sincere belief (yes, I do have a sincere belief in the Risen Lord and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and I begrudge the suggestion that it is somehow mere play-acting) are not enough; they only make me lukewarm.
I should like to propose a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas, after whom I take part of my name, for the task of neoreaction and, most importantly of all, the souls of neoreactionaries whether Catholic or not.
O creator past all telling,
you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom
the hierarchies of angels,
disposing them in wondrous order
above the bright heavens,
and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe.
You we call the true fount of wisdom
and the noble origin of all things.
Be pleased to shed
on the darkness of mind in which I was born,
The twofold beam of your light
and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin.
You make eloquent the tongues of children.
Then instruct my speech
and touch my lips with graciousness.
Make me keen to understand, quick to learn,
able to remember;
make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak.
Guide my going in and going forward,
lead home my going forth.
You are true God and true man,
and live for ever and ever. Amen.